I sat down with Barry Wilson, Alicia Rawlins, and Steve Gallo who help oversee, manage, coordinate, and sell for Aramsco’s Restoration Rentals division, to get answers to common questions that customers might Aramsco’s Restoration Rental Program.
Keep reading below to learn about the unique opportunities that our restoration rental program has available.
Drew Crawford: How do you prepare for our customers so that you are available to serve them right after a hurricane strikes?
Barry Wilson: As an event comes, we start moving trailers to the area right before the storm. We have relationships with different organizations. For Hurricane Ian, we rolled 11 trailers into Bradenton and we stayed in the area. When the storm passes, we work out of there with customers calling. We make a camp at ground zero. We bring RVs, we sleep in the RVs, we cook outside, and we bring our own fuel.
We get customers that are dealing with important facilities and infrastructure that can’t be offline. When we go down there we want to be ready for them. We’re with our customers in the area, and the salesforce including David Swint is down there with his customers. By doing this we’re able to supply them with the equipment that they need.
DC: What is the best advantage to having rentals available directly after a storm like Hurricane Ian strikes?
BW: We go into an area and we’re able to support contractors with equipment and as a result, facilities get to open quicker, people get to go back to their normal lives, people get to go back to their jobs, kids get to go back to school. That’s why we like getting there early and being there to handle the storms.
DC: Can you share with me your favorite rental success story over the last few weeks as you have been responding to Hurricane Ian?
BW: We helped Mammoth Restoration. This is the first year that they’ve really come to us on the rental side, and we helped them with setting up a desiccant dehumidifier on a building. This rolled into helping them land another building. They were able to get more businesses by showing other building owners what they had accomplished And with our equipment not having logos on it, it looks like their equipment, it looks like their machines, and that’s power for them to go and land more jobs.
By having us as a tool in their toolbox 18 hours after the storm hit they were able to land more work than they thought they were going to be able to do, including a high-rise condominium. We helped them by providing a trailer full of 200 dehumidifiers, and this helped them with their credit line.
SG: By doing this, the most important thing is that we're able to build a relationship with customers that lasts for a long time.
DC: Are there other benefits to equipment that doesn’t have a logo on it?
BW: There are higher margins across the board that come from using our rental equipment. Customers are able to use the equipment to market with and promote their business.
DC: What's been one or two other of your favorite stories helping customers during Hurricane Ian?
BW & AR: Jason Sharp had a customer call prior to the event and rent a whole trailer of equipment for the whole month. The reason that they called is that they knew that we would have the equipment available.
The Restoration team uses GPS tracking to monitor the location of all equipment trailers in real-time and communicate up-to-date locations with contractors.
DC: What's something that a restoration contractor might not have considered about rentals?
BW: There are contractors that rent, and there are contractors that buy. For contractors that rent, they should understand that we started out as Midwest Rental and we put our heads together with Aramsco at a tradeshow, and in 2017 they acquired us. We've evolved being together as a company. Last year is when they really invested in our division. We bought 19 semi-trailers, and now we have over 30 semi-trailers. We have 24 semi-trailers in Florida for Hurricane right response right now; it's huge.
All of our trailers in Florida are tracked by GPS so that we know where everything is and we can call the customer and let them know that our delivery is on its way. We have full communication.
SG: What we're able to do this year is not say "no" because of running out of equipment, especially on the portables side of the business. We invested $5 million into dehumidifiers and air movers after last year's Texas freeze, so that we wouldn't run out as we have in the past. We won't let you down because we won't run out of equipment.
We can also set up fueling through a fuel company for generators. There is a 20 percent surcharge involved, but this option is available.
Another thing to consider is that if you get a big job, you can put all the rental equipment on one job. For example, if you have a big job where you need 200 pieces. It's easier to keep track of rental equipment in one place and use all of the equipment that you own for other smaller jobs. That way your equipment doesn't get mixed up when the job is finished.
DC: How much rental equipment is available 3 weeks into Hurricane Ian Response for customers to rent?
BW: We're constantly recircling, cleaning, and re-filtering equipment so that it's ready to go back out to customers. Right now we have three to four semi-trailers ready to go out. If a customer called us and said that they needed 400 to 600 dehumidifiers we could make that happen today, and we still have even more than that.
DC: Tell me about how you build trust with our customers while working in restoration rentals?
SG: I never want to overpromise something with customers, whether it's what we have available when we can be there, the job cost, or any of those things. I want to walk them through everything upfront so that they know what to expect. We want to respond as quickly as we can, so it's important to have an open conversation with our customers.
We also set up desiccant dehumidifiers for our customers. A lot of companies rent these, and if they can get the service that goes along with these, setting them up and sizing them, whether it's a dental office, school, or another type of building, that's something that sets us apart.
DC: What's the benefit of renting a desiccant dehumidifier as opposed to an XL LGR dehumidifier?
SG: The biggest thing is that a lot of time there's no power. The desiccant jobs are usually ones that we get in the first week to two weeks after a storm event. If you hook up a desiccant outside and duct it to the building, that's providing its own power.
If you were to do the same thing with an LGR dehumidifier you would have to have a generator outside if there's no power being supplied to the building, then you would have to run heavy-duty cables throughout the building, and spider boxes, and then you would have cables, and wires, and water lines for your drains. You would have to deal with all of that while you're trying to demo.
With our desiccants, you hook them into a door or window, and we hang the ducting unit from a ceiling grid. Our dehumidification is all being done outside and the ducting is hung out of the way. You can continue to demo and not have to worry about tripping over equipment. It's just a quicker setup, and might actually be less costly in the long run.
DC: Anything else that you would like to share about restoration rentals?
SG: Rentals are a good idea if you're coming from out of state so that contractors don't leave their customers hanging because they don't have equipment for a job back home. If you don't have the ability to take half of your equipment to a storm, the better idea might be to rent equipment when you need to be on the road. This way, you avoid the headache of parking your trailer, getting a flat tire, and coordinating the logistics of everything. Rentals are a great option for this.
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